A-LEAGUE marquee players can be like the little girl with the curl. Like Alessandro Del Piero, when they’re good, they’re very, very good.
When they’re bad, they’re horrid. Like Mario Jardel.
The marquee player concept appeared a great idea when the league started in 2005. It went out of fashion for a time because of some flops, false starts and the success of lesser-known imports like Fred, Carlos Hernandez, Marcos Flores, Thomas Broich and Patrick Zwaanswijk.
But Del Piero is proving that done well, marquee players can more than justify their price tag – increasing their club and league’s profiles domestically and internationally.
The early signs are also promising for Newcastle’s Emile Heskey, who has scored twice in three matches.
Before them, there were others who brought a serious international profile to the A-League.
DWIGHT YORKE: Sydney FC, season 1. Ex-Premier League star Yorke was the competition’s first marquee player and played just one season. But the impression he made is remembered seven years later. And not just at favoured Sydney nightspot Hugo’s Lounge. On-field he was terrific, winning the man of the match award as Sydney FC won the inaugural grand final.
KAZUYOSHI MIURA: Sydney FC, season 1. Japanese superstar Kazu played just four games on a guest stint, but excelled. The Asian footballer of the year’s highlight was scoring both goals in a thrilling 3-2 top of the table loss to Adelaide United. Now in his mid-40s, he still plays second-tier Japanese football, and was this week named in Japan’s Futsal World Cup squad.